WHEN MOST PEOPLE HEAR THE WORDS “COSMETIC DENTISTRY” they automatically associate it with smile design, tooth whitening and dental reconstruction. However, here at Champagne Family Dentistry we like to remind our patients and friends that cosmetic dentistry often does much more than affect your appearance—it can also improve your health and save your smile! Dental Crowns can not only fix the appearance of a tooth, but also restore it to its original shape—providing added strength and stability to your entire mouth.
You may have the general impression that creating and placing a cosmetic crown is a more involved process than simply filling a tooth, but both seem to have the same general effect, right? Well, not really. There are actually quite a few differences between the two. So, why is it that in some cases a dental crown may be a better option than a traditional filling?
Factors that Determine the Choice of Fillings Or Crowns
At Champagne Family Dentistry, we like to remind our patients and friends that cosmetic dentistry often does much more than affect your appearance—it can also improve your health and save your smile! Dental crowns can not only fix the appearance of a tooth, but also restore it to its original shape—providing added strength and stability to your entire mouth. However, simple dental fillings can also offer some of the same results in certain cases. The difference between a crown and a filling can mean a better, more personalized solution to your smile.
Crowns are made of a high-density synthetic ceramic material meant to replace the enamel—the hard outer layer of your tooth. Fillings are meant to stop mild decay from extending any further into the enamel and compromising the sensitive nerve inside the tooth. Fillings can stop your tooth from advanced cavity symptoms, but a crown offers increased strength and resistance to corrosion over time, meaning that a tooth that needs a crown won’t have the same weaknesses as a tooth with a filling.
True to the Natural Shape of Your Teeth
Fillings only remove a small part of the tooth, leaving the rest of the enamel untouched. If your dentist does a good job with the filling, you will never notice any difference between the synthetic filling material and your natural tooth. However, certain fillings can look visibly different from the surrounding tooth. Crowns are meant to fully encompass the tooth and conform to their natural shape, meaning they will look indistinguishable from your surrounding teeth.
Some Fillings Can Actually Weaken a Tooth
If the decay has penetrated deep enough into the tooth’s enamel layer, performing a filling procedure means your dentist will have to remove a larger amount of your tooth’s enamel and dentin—the spongy inner layer of the tooth. In this case, some fillings can actually make your tooth weaker as there is little original material there to support the filling. In this case, a crown may be the only option to salvage the tooth.
Crowns Provide More Protection for Damaged Teeth
When teeth get cavities, acid produced by bacteria can bore a hole into the hard enamel layer, allowing bacteria and other harmful substances access to the sensitive tissue inside the tooth and gum. Crowns create a corrosion-resistant shield around the entirety of the tooth’s root and nerve ending, creating more protection for damaged teeth than a filling alone. And if you find yourself wondering, “can crowns get cavities?” The answer is never!
Tooth Filling Often Used for Minor Tooth Decay
Fillings replace a small part of the affected tooth with a synthetic material that is far more resistant to corrosion. However, they are most effective at stopping a small cavity from getting any bigger, and are generally fairly unhelpful against cases of heavy decay or damage. The lifespan of filling restorations is also considerably less depending on the extent of the corrosion. Crowns are capable of saving the root and nerve of a tooth while replacing the affected enamel, leading to a long lasting, natural looking fix.
The biggest factor for determining when is a crown needed instead of a filling depends on the extent of the damage in the affected tooth. If your dentist explains that you have a small cavity, a filling is a perfectly sufficient solution to contain the damage. However, if you’ve suffered extreme decay or a traumatic accident that has damaged your teeth, your dentist may consider a crown.
How Do I Know Which Option is Right for Me?
When choosing between a filling or a crown, talk to your dentist about the overall goals you have for your procedure. Ask about price, availability of certain materials, procedure and recovery time, and aesthetics and functionality of the final product. Fillings are a cheap, easy fix in cases where the health of your tooth won’t be severely impacted and the final product has little bearing on the aesthetics of your smile. If the affected tooth is a prominent one, like a front tooth, or if it has been severely impacted beyond what a filling can safely fix, a ceramic crown can offer a seamless fix that can withstand your normal bite pressure and look just like your natural tooth.
Where To Have Dental Crowns And Fillings Done
If you are looking to have either a filling or crown put in place, the professionals at Champagne Family Dentistry have years of experience in the procedures ranging from simple cleanings to major restorative dental work. Call or stop by our clinic and inquire about availability and materials, or if you have questions about what might be best for your specific case, our dentists will be happy to set up an initial consultation to give you guidance. We want you to feel confident in your choices and the level of service you will receive at our clinic, so come join CFD today!
Oh, and one more important note…We appreciate the trust you place in our practice and in our recommendations. We deeply value that trust, and never make any treatment recommendation that isn’t in your very best interest. If there is ever anything about a recommendation that you don’t completely understand, don’t hesitate to say something. We love answering your questions.